Wednesday, January 13, 2010

TOS Crew: MathScore

MathScore is an online program, developed by MIT graduates, that allows your child to practice his math skills in a very organized, efficient manner.  Based on his mastery of the skills, the program gradually increases your child's level of difficulty as he progresses through the material.  With a limitless supply of problems, it is sure to keep your child busy for a long while, practicing his math skills until he fully understands what he is doing and has mastered several different levels of difficulty.


Although MathScore can be used for students from 1st grade through Algebra 1, we were automatically taken into the 2nd grade portion of the program, since Jacob's in 2nd grade.  Here are some of the topics he has at this level:
  • Copy Cat Preparation- This teaches Jacob how to type, using the number pad (without looking), which will increase his speed, as the worksheets throughout MathScore are timed.
  • Fast Addition
  • Mixed Addition and Subtraction
  • Beginner Multiplication
  • Basic Word Problems- which I can see us using countless times, as Jacob seems to struggle with word problems.
  • Associative Property 1
  • Odd or Even
  • Place Value to 1000
  • Fraction Pictures
  • Making Change (20)
  • Telling Time
  • Geometric Shapes
  • Bar Graphs
  • Patterns: Numbers
....and many more.  If I want to see topics for next year, or if Jacob progresses quickly or even if he needs review, I can go forward or back to the next year's or previous year's worksheets and practice sessions.  

How this works is that Jacob can sign into the student part of the site, and he can click on the appropriate topic for that day.  (We would use this as a supplement to our curriculum, although some parents have used the program as a complete curriculum.)  Once he chooses a topic, he can take a mini lesson associated with that topic.  Then he can view sample problems with solutions.  Finally, he can click on the timed worksheet, which will start out with basic skills and based on mastery, progress to more difficult critical thinking skills.  So, at all times, the levels and ratings are set at Jacob's level, by his own pace, which I find very helpful.  It gives him practice in what he actually needs practice in.  If he doesn't do well, he simply has to learn more about that topic and master the concept before he can progress.  There is also an Awards section, in which Jacob can find topics he needs to master in order to earn trophies.  It's the student's goal to get a rating of 100, but this depends again on his mastery and skill level.  This provides motivation, as does the section that provides other students' high scores.  When the student reaches fourth grade, there is an assessment section that can be used from that point on, but the site itself recommends sticking mostly with the topics. 

The whole program is organized in such a way as to allow the parent and child to examine how the child is doing.  It keeps records for the parent, so that I can go in at anytime (on the parent side) and peruse the different worksheets Jacob's done, as well as scores and ratings he's received, levels he's progressed to, or problems he may be having and areas we need to work on together.  I'm really impressed with this side of the program because a homeschooling parent's life is busy enough without having to sift through paperwork and grading systems.  This is done for me.  I can even see the time logged in to various worksheets/topics. 

You can watch a short video on how MathScore works here.  You can also sign up for a free trial.  Below is an image of the price list. 
Home Service Prices Per Month
Coupon: new user

1st Student
$14.95 $9.95
2nd Student
Each Additional Student
Coupon Benefits:
½ month free and $5 off
for 1st child.
Discounts valid for 2 months.

Are there disadvantages to this program?  Well, it certainly is not "attractive" to Jacob, meaning there are no colorful images/pictures/characters (with the exception of basic skills problems where the student needs illustrations to help him learn the concept).  Would I still recommend it?  Yes, I would, because it is a program that is full of good, sound practice; and even though there might not be any pictures or colorful characters, Jacob still has the motivation to keep progressing because he can earn trophies.  To a 7 year old boy, a trophy means the world.:)  So, yes, for the price, especially, and the practice earned, I would definitely recommend this program, if not for the excellent records it keeps for you.

To read more reviews, you can visit the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog.

(Disclosure: I received a free trial of this program, in association with the TOS Homeschool Crew.)


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